Sorry I haven’t posted much here. I decided to try wordpress out and compare it with blogspot where I have another blog http://fixedgearmaniacs.blogspot.com. I’ve been concentrating more time there. I like the WordPress format, but they don’t allow you advertisers or any of the other avenues for making money. Not that I make much money from the blog but it’s nice to think I might get lucky. I will transfer some of those articles over here in the future.
Finding a used fixed gear. Lots of ways to do this. First you will have to decide do you want a true track frame or do you want a converted road frame. Either will do, here’s the difference. The track frame will have a little higher bottom bracket so you can use a slightly longer crank then the road frame however I don’t recommend anything longer than 170mm crank length. Remember your going to be pedaling through the corners the longer the crank the more chance you have of scrapping it and possibly crashing. Also you want to be spinning and not struggling pushing a big gear. A track frame will usually have a quicker harsher ride than the road bike. Track frames will be harder to find than road frames and probably more expensive. If you decide to convert a road frame it must be the older style frame with horizontal drop outs. The dropouts are where the rear wheel axle rests. The older frames had dropouts that allowed for an inch or two of adjustment. Meaning you could slide the wheel to and fro in the dropout. Newer style frames have a verticle dropout which drops right down on the axle with no forward or backward play. This you don’t want! When setting up a fixed gear you must have some room for adjustment. The reason: when you cut your chain you have a set length of chain.You have to be able to pull the chain tight on the dropout. With a horizontal dropout you can do this on a vertical you can’t!
Chain tension is very important on a fixed gear you have to have this space for adjustment. Just look at a track frame. A road frame will have the dropout opening facing the opposite direction from a track frame but this is fine you can still pull the wheel tight.
Do not use a quick release on your rear wheel! Your rear wheel must be securely bolted fixed gear chain puts a lot more pressure on the rear wheel. Several ways you can do this 1) use a regular track wheel with the bolts. 2) Change out the quick release axle for a bolt on axle 3) or they make a bolt on that slides through the quick release axle. If you use this system use a chain tensioner as well as a safety measure. In fact I recommend a chain tensioner on all fixed gears. A chain tensioner is a bolt tensioner that goes on either side of the dropout. It has a nut you tighten. As you tighten the nut it pulls the wheel tight. So if your bolt was to go loose on the wheel the chain tensioner would still keep your wheel in place.
Now where to find your frame or bike- garage sales,
You’ve decided you want a fixed gear and you want a new bike. Well your lucky most of the bicycle manufacturers now offer at least one fixed gear model in their line. Most prices range from $569 to $1000. Things you want to look at Frame size find out your correct size. Frame material Steel, Aluminum or Carbon Fiber. Everything else can be changed or upgrated. Frame material- I recommend steel. 1) it offers a better ride than aluminum. More shock absorbing. 2) Holds up better in a crash than aluminum or carbon. 3) Usually a better price than aluminum or carbon. Only negative which is not really a negative – it weighs more. Weight on fixed gear bikes is not that crucial since they usually weigh less than most Road Bikes. Remember Fixed Gears have no shifters, derailleurs, freewheel or cassette thus lighter. If your racing on the track then get an aluminum or carbon fiber race frame. For the street go steel or aluminum. The only advantage an aluminum frame has over steel is weight. With aluminum you have a harsher ride and in a crash it doesn’t hold up as well as steel. Also steel can be bent back in shape and welded. Not usually the case with aluminum. It’s your money so ride both and see what you like. Here is a list of new model fixed gear bikes. Bianchi- Pista, Cannondale- Capo, Giant- Bowery, KHS- Flite 100, Raleigh- Rush Hour, Schwinn- Madison, Specialized- Langster, Surly-Steam Roller a couple others worth looking at Dolan and Felt also have models. These are just a few of the better known bikes available.
www.bianchiusa.com, www.cannondale.com, www.giant-bicycles.com, www.khsbicycles.com, www.raleighusa.com, www.schwinn.com, www.specialized.com, www.surlybikes.com
Well let me take you in to the dark seductive world of ridding fixed gear. Not for the weak and faint of heart and Warning: Once you go in you may not go back…..Ha, Ha, Ha
Ok so what is a fixed gear bike? Basically bicycles that were originally designed to race on a track or Velodrome. These bike had only one gear and no brakes. Why no brakes? Well these bikes were being ridden fast on oval tracks. Riders are drafting inches from each others wheels. Touching a brake would not give the riders in the back time to react which would result in lots of crashes. Track riders were conditioned to go around problems and obstacles to avoid trouble.
So how did these bikes become popular on the streets? We can thank the New York Bicycle Messengers. If you don’t know what a messenger is get your hands on the movie Quicksilver with Kevin Bacon. What’s different about a fixed gear? 1) As long as the bike is moving the cranks are turning. There is no coasting on a fixed gear. You have one gear solidly fixed to your rear wheel if you pedal backwards the bike moves back if you pedal forward the bike moves forward. Kind of like that tricycle you had when you were a kid. 2) The bikes are lighter than similar road bikes, because you don’t have the extra weight of gears,derailleurs and shifters. 3)The crank arms are shorter to allow you to keep pedaling through a curve.
So…..Why would you want to ride one of these bikes? 1) They are great fun! 2) You have control on these bikes that you don’t get on any other type of bike. 3) Since you are direct drive you feel at one with the road a truly Zen like experience. 4) Simplicity nothing complicated the true essence of biking.
So if I peaked your interest continue on.. if not then you don’t belong here and get the hell out!